How to get hot "Oscar" hair looks for less

February 23, 2009 10:23:04 AM PST
Watching the Academy Awards is not just about the movies; it's about how the Hollywood stars look on the Red Carpet. You might not be able to wear the gowns and the jewels, but you can re-create some the glamorous hairstyles with some help from an expert. Stylist Sarah Potempa, is a Chicago native and spokesperson for Aussie Hair Care She says you can get super-easy party hair in only a few steps, if you have the right tools and know a few basics. Here are her tips:Sarah has picked her favorite looks from the Red Carpet and she says you can re-create these styles too:

Retro Chic: Evan Rachel Wood

To ensure your hair doesn't resemble your grandma's stiff up do at her prom, create a fun and playful look by giving naturally straight hair a boost! Add a strong, flexible mousse to dry hair?especially at the roots. Blow dry straight up to add volume and texture (you don't even need a brush!). Separate the bang and pull the sides into a high pony tail. With the bangs, create a tight curl with a closed 1" iron, pin and let cool. Once cool, take a strong hairspray and spray directly onto a flat brush, smooth bang and pin to the side.

Simple Elegance: Angelina Jolie

Between the make-up and the dress keep hair simple. Especially if you always wear straight hair, this is a very sexy look. It works well to add excitement and movement to their look. Add a strong, but natural finish mousse to dry roots and loosely blow dry up. Separate hair and wrap 2" sections around the closed 1" iron like a candy cane. Run fingers through hair and separate. Pull sides back off the face and pin with bobby pins to create a more sophisticated look.

Sleek Sophistication: Beyonce Knowles

For a look that will last throughout the night a smooth ponytail is the way to go. Make sure to polish the look with a hairspray. After you spray your hair, roll the bottle over the hair to lock in the smoothness. For a more polished look wrap the base of the ponytail with a small piece of your hair.

Modern Standard: Kate Winslet

Make a statement that is classic and modern by keeping your hair simple from day to night. Add a strong, flexible hairspray drying hair at the root. Blow dry with a round brush to add volume and texture. To create the height on top, loosely tease the top (only in a downward motion). Pull sides back off the face and clip creating a wave. Finish the look by rolling the bottom of the hair underneath using a sponge.

"The 4 Must-Have Styling Tools"

Boar/Nylon Bristle Flat Brush: Great for keeping hair polished and healthy and creating the perfect ponytail.

Sarah's Secret: Spray hairspray onto a boar/nylon bristle flat brush to style hair after curling or flat-ironing for extra shine and hold. The boar bristles polish the cuticle for smoothness while the nylon bristles enhance control.

Classic Curling Iron: Try a curling iron with a 1 inch barrel. It allows you to do a perfect loose wave by wrapping hair around it.

Sarah's Secret: Use a conditioning spray on the hair before curling. After curling, pin the curl up for a few minutes. The combination of the product and the right temperature of the iron create perfect curls.

Strong Clips: Clips can make a huge difference in how you separate and control your styling and will cut down the time you need to get ready.

Sarah's Secret: Use the bottom part of the clip for sectioning, the spring design on the top is adjustable to all hair types. It never snags and allows for quick capture and release of each section.

Beveled Flat Iron: This iron is the best tool to use to smooth out flyaways, especially around the hairline.

Sarah's Secret: Create a great wave by spraying the hair with Aussie's Opposites Attract Hairspray (for hold and shine) and wrapping the hair around the round part of the iron in a spiral motion. In just a few minutes, you can go from kinky, messy hair to smooth, polished roots.

"The Trim"

The Dry Cut: You can easily trim your own hair at home in-between salon visits! Sarah recommends a dry cut. To get an even tension, spritz hair with a heat protecting conditioning spray, Sarah likes to use a leave-in conditioner. Then flat iron hair. The key to a perfect cut is moving with the shape of the head. Look to the left and right to cut the sides and look down when cutting the back.

Soft Bangs: Section your hair in a semi-circle from the arch of one eyebrow around to the other for the perfect bang. If you part your hair or bangs to the side add a flexible hair gel and blow dry downward. This will establish a perfect part to cut. Cutting the bangs dry will prevent you from cutting them too short. Softly and carefully cut into the hair upward and on a slight angle, focusing on the center section first. If you wear your bangs flat, leave hair on the sides a bit longer to frame the eyes.


Chicago native Sarah Potempa is an innovative hair stylist whose technical versatility and singular creative talent have put her in world wide demand. Her work displays a vast knowledge of stylistic tradition interspersed with her own unique attention to detail. She impresses her clientele with a strong work ethic and an ability to collaborate with others to achieve a common vision. It is hard to say whether it's Sarah's easy going personality or raw talent that keeps editors, celebrities and top hair care brands clamoring for more. This includes Aussie Hair Care, the brand most associated with fun, playful styles and naturally radiant hair, who recently signed Sarah as their official celebrity stylist.

As a freelance stylist, Sarah has extensive experience styling for editorial shoots, advertising, and celebrity appearances. She has been requested for press events and photo shoots for celebrities such as Ali Larter, Minka Kelly, Ivanka Trump, Brooke Shields, Ryan Reynolds, and Jake Gyllenhaal to name a few. She has also done the advertising campaigns for Converse by John Varvatos, Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters, and MTV and has even appeared on television in series such as Canada's Next Top Model.

Born and raised in Chicago, Sarah began working in a small hair salon at the age of fifteen. In 1999 she moved to Manhattan to study Business and Creativity in New York University's Gallatin independent study program and to launch her career as a freelance artist. Studying under industry giants such as Recine, Danilo, and Ward, Sarah quickly became a recognized name and a huge asset to the styling world. Sarah displays a rare combination of technical flexibility and creative vision that will carry her through an illustrious career including her latest endeavor as Aussie's celebrity stylist.